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Pride & Prejudice* (*Sort Of) Criterion Theatre, London

Another Pride and Prejudice adaptation, but don’t worry; where others might be accused of the occasional dreariness, this one clears out our expectations to make way for a farcical haphazard retelling of the Austen classic.

Isobel McArthur, Christina Gordon, Tori Burgess; Front- Meghan Tyler, Hannah Jarrett-Scott - Credit Tony McGee.
Isobel McArthur, Christina Gordon, Tori Burgess; Front- Meghan Tyler, Hannah Jarrett-Scott – Credit Tony McGee.

Writer (Isobel McArthur) and director (Simon Harvey) have created a farcical retelling of Jane Austen’s most famous work. And this show is undoubtedly a far cry from traditional period adaptation, but I do not think that is a bad thing. The show is laugh-a-minute, and there is a sharp wit to the writing. This is complemented well by the deft execution of comedic timing and playful audience interaction.

Hannah Jarrett-Scott (Both Bingleys/Charlotte) shines and has a commanding hold on the audience with a charismatic comedic performance. Meghan Tyler (Elizabeth) has good charisma and appears to be somewhat run-down by the show’s end, but this works to an entertaining effect. Overall the company has good chemistry and play off each other well. Crucial to farce is playfulness and good timing, and this is all on display from start to finish.

The writing is good, and jokes are well written, then cashed in upon later, gags about a sort of absentee father, nods to the Colin Firth adaptation and Mr Collins disgusting manor. At points, however, some jokes could have been made more of, while others feel overdone and at moments lean toward self-indulgence. Over-acting is a prerequisite for the exaggerated style of theatre they adopt; however, sometimes, this goes beyond that which is justified.

The occasional song is thrown in, and this makes for a good one-liner; however, often, it is far more than a one-liner and was not entirely necessary. The show is technically very elaborate with all kinds of ridiculous transitions and entertaining lighting choices, so stage managers Jackie Ellis, Jodie Day and Lizzy Gething all deserve credit for a slick series of events.

All in all, I had a great time and laughed consistently all through the show. Occasionally jokes were predictable or repetitive, but it is good to have a laugh given the times, and this cast has something and its worth catching.

3 Star Review

Review by Tom Carter

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen’s most iconic love story. Men, money and microphones will be fought over in this irreverent but affectionate all-female adaptation, where the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to romance.

Pride & Prejudice* (*Sort Of)
Criterion Theatre
Piccadilly Circus London SW1Y 4XA

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